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Troubleshooting Solarwinds Network Paths

I attended a Webinar recently that explained how to troubleshoot Solarwinds network paths. The following is a summary of my notes.

In this session, Solarwinds exposes a new concept: Network Path troubleshooting.

Here are my notes:

  • Without an NMS, the Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) a networking issue is about 4.6hr. 2hr of them is dedicated to finding what component is guilty
  • The network evolved from having the datacenter in the center of our network to having the Internet in the middle.
Legacy network model
Legacy network architecture – copyright by Solarwinds
New network architecture
New network architecture. The red lines are the network paths- copyright by Solarwinds
  • The network devices form many paths. But when an issue occurs, how can we determine the critical path?
  • Monitoring is an ongoing collection of metrics. It’s not a task you do when a trouble ticket is raised.
  • Solarwinds is working on an application project called Network Path Troubleshooting. It is an app built for each network path. For each network path, there can be many Network Path Troubleshooting screens.
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Overview of the Network Path Troubleshooting screen
  • The Network Path Troubleshooting screen takes information from multiples Solarwinds sources. It shows information for all devices in a particular network path
  • The Network Path Troubleshooting app defines the concept of “critical path”
  • Networks are complex. We are taking the critical paths and focusing on them, removing all non important devices and display them on the Network Path Troubleshooting screen.
  • On a hover of a mouse, we get an idea on about every device or link of the network path. The network path is not drawn with the Traceroute tool. It is done with proprietary Solarwinds technology.
  • Network Path Troubleshooting information is seeded by Orion Network Performance Monitor, along with other tools such as Network Configuration Manager and Netflow Traffic Analyzer.
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Components that provide information for the Network Troubleshooting View
  • With Orion, we can:
    • detect configuration changes
    • apply configuration file uploads
    • see QoS policy changes, etc.
  • Aside from Network Path Troubleshooting, there is a concept tool called Network Cloud Monitor. It contains these sub-components: Routing Graph and Service Performance History
  • Service Performance History: gives an overview of the performance of our network in the form of a graph

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  • Routing Graph
    • allows to display the graphical representation of the path from one source node to a destination node. When we click on a node, we discover a list of sub-paths is displayed. And that helps us when we troubleshoot network path issues with a service provider.

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The colored links form the network path of our packets, which helps determine on which node or link the issue:

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By clicking on the link, we learn that it is owned by Telia Sonera carrier.

By the way, the Network Cloud Monitor is neither a feature not a tool in Orion. It is simply not released yet at the time of this writing.

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